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Watch: ¡No Estoy Sola! #EndtheQuota Action in Washington, DC

DWN Blog - May 20, 2014 - 19:51

Post written by Tory Johnson reposted from the FCNL blog:

“You are not alone! ¡Tú no estás solo!” These calls of support nearly brought me to tears as I stood in front of the White House last Friday, risking arrest for the first time. Four others stood with me, looking into a crowd of over 100 people standing with us, calling for an end to the immigration detention quota.

In 2009, Congress mandated that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintain a minimum of 33,400 detention beds. The 2010 DHS appropriations bill increased this quota to 34,000, where it remains today. The language requires immigration officials to maintain this level of detention beds, and historically both DHS officials and members of Congress have interpreted this as a requirement to fill all of the beds.

Think about that for moment.

34,000 people held in detention on a daily basis because of a line in an appropriations bill. Operating immigration detention on a quota system is a further injustice in a detention and deportation dragnet that flawed at its core. Reports of  due process rights, and retaliatory treatment in detention centers continue to surface. Last year more than 400,000 people were pushed through U.S. detention and deportation proceedings, the highest number on record.

And why? I’ve listened to the stories of immigrants who risked everything to come to the U.S. for a better life, forced to leave their homes because U.S. trade policies changed the economic reality in Mexico and Central America for millions of people. I am incredibly grateful to be a U.S. citizen, but I didn’t have to work for it. I was born here, which afforded me an immense amount of access and privilege. Why are we punishing people for wanting the same?

I was arrested for civil disobedience because I am outraged that my friends, members of our families and our communities are being treated as a number. As a problem to be dealt with. Immigrants are PEOPLE. Yet they’re being used to fill a quota, generating profits for private prison companies, and the majority of taxpaying Americans have no idea. In 2013, the detention budget for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cost taxpayers $2.8 billion. In the same year, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Geo Group, two of the three corporations operating private detention facilities, each raked in more than $200 million in revenue from contracts with ICE to operate detention centers.

It is despicable that we’re using a quota to lock people up at an alarming rate while our immigration system remains in shambles. Rather than providing realistic and meaningful ways for people to come to the country legally, U.S. policy is disproportionately focused on finding and locking up immigrants. In this system, the only winners are private corporations. The bed quota is one aspect of this bloated system, and we can eliminate it this year.

I’m not saying you have to go out and get arrested, but we must call attention to this fiscally and morally irresponsible policy and demand an end to the quota.


via @NDLON: 150+ Groups Call on DHS Sec. Johnson to End ICE Holds

DWN Blog - May 19, 2014 - 12:52

Reposted from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Image by Martha Ocampo via notonemoredeportation.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Salvador Sarmiento, sgsarmiento@ndlon.org, (202) 746-2099

As the President moves to “reboot” Secure Communities, advocates demand complete end to key component of the program

May 16, 2014, Washington, DC—A day after President Obama and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced they would take a “fresh look” at the Secure Communities deportation program—widely criticized for contributing to rampant racial profiling and an unprecedented level of deportations—over 150 organizations delivered a letter to the Secretary demanding an end to ICE holds, a key component of the program. 

Over 150 immigrant, labor, faith, and civil rights organizations, including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), endorsed the letter, which asks Secretary Johnson to use his “existing legal authority to end ICE’s use of holds to enlist local police as so-called ‘force-multipliers’ that amplify the enforcement of unjust immigration laws.”  ICE holds are requests from ICE to local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals suspected of civil immigration violations; as part of the Secure Communities program (S-Comm), they have led to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of individuals since President Obama took office.

The letter comes just weeks after the Acting Inspector General of DHS was suspended for corruption, including altering a report that was supposed to address criticism of S-Comm. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has called for a new investigation, noting that DHS has consistently failed to ensure appropriate “accountability of the flawed Secure Communities program.”

To date, over 60 jurisdictions across the country have passed policies limiting or ending submission to ICE holds. The national trend comes as a response to S-Comm’s indiscriminate separation of families and chilling effect on immigrant communities’ willingness to reach out to police for assistance. Most recently, dozens of counties across three states—Oregon, Washington, and Colorado—have announced that they will no longer respond to ICE holds following a federal district court decision that held that detaining an individual on the basis of an ICE hold violates the Fourth Amendment.

On April 17, 19 activists were arrested in a civil disobedience at the Suffolk Detention Center in Boston, MA calling for an end to S-Comm and condemning the President’s record 2 million deportations since taking office.

“Among the irreparable problems with S-Comm is the fact that it has been unsuccessfully rebooted so many times that it is now impossible for a ‘fresh start’, which is why the consensus view is that it should be scrapped entirely,” said Salvador G. Sarmiento of NDLON. “And we cannot start to talk about humane policies while these programs continue to instill fear in immigrant communities and permit widespread abuse.”

Read the full letter here


via @NDLON: 150+ Groups Call on DHS Sec. Johnson to End ICE Holds

DWN Blog - May 19, 2014 - 12:52

Reposted from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Image by Martha Ocampo via notonemoredeportation.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Salvador Sarmiento, sgsarmiento@ndlon.org, (202) 746-2099

As the President moves to “reboot” Secure Communities, advocates demand complete end to key component of the program

May 16, 2014, Washington, DC—A day after President Obama and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced they would take a “fresh look” at the Secure Communities deportation program—widely criticized for contributing to rampant racial profiling and an unprecedented level of deportations—over 150 organizations delivered a letter to the Secretary demanding an end to ICE holds, a key component of the program. 

Over 150 immigrant, labor, faith, and civil rights organizations, including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), endorsed the letter, which asks Secretary Johnson to use his “existing legal authority to end ICE’s use of holds to enlist local police as so-called ‘force-multipliers’ that amplify the enforcement of unjust immigration laws.”  ICE holds are requests from ICE to local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals suspected of civil immigration violations; as part of the Secure Communities program (S-Comm), they have led to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of individuals since President Obama took office.

The letter comes just weeks after the Acting Inspector General of DHS was suspended for corruption, including altering a report that was supposed to address criticism of S-Comm. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has called for a new investigation, noting that DHS has consistently failed to ensure appropriate “accountability of the flawed Secure Communities program.”

To date, over 60 jurisdictions across the country have passed policies limiting or ending submission to ICE holds. The national trend comes as a response to S-Comm’s indiscriminate separation of families and chilling effect on immigrant communities’ willingness to reach out to police for assistance. Most recently, dozens of counties across three states—Oregon, Washington, and Colorado—have announced that they will no longer respond to ICE holds following a federal district court decision that held that detaining an individual on the basis of an ICE hold violates the Fourth Amendment.

On April 17, 19 activists were arrested in a civil disobedience at the Suffolk Detention Center in Boston, MA calling for an end to S-Comm and condemning the President’s record 2 million deportations since taking office.

“Among the irreparable problems with S-Comm is the fact that it has been unsuccessfully rebooted so many times that it is now impossible for a ‘fresh start’, which is why the consensus view is that it should be scrapped entirely,” said Salvador G. Sarmiento of NDLON. “And we cannot start to talk about humane policies while these programs continue to instill fear in immigrant communities and permit widespread abuse.”

Read the full letter here


via @ACLU: Judge Rules to Limit Mandatory Detention of Immigrants in California

DWN Blog - May 17, 2014 - 11:43
For Immediate Release via ACLU :  May 16, 2014 Media Contact: (415) 621-2493 (press@aclunc.org) Immigration judge grants motion for preliminary injunction requiring the government to give certain immigrants a bond hearing in California.

On Thursday May 15, United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted a motion for a preliminary injunction and motion for class certification in Preap v. Holder, a class action lawsuit in which Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, with lead counsel Keker Van Nest, LLP, challenged the federal government’s practice in California of detaining certain immigrants without bond, often for many months, while they face deportation proceedings.

By refusing these detainees bond hearings at which they can demonstrate their fitness for release because they are neither a flight risk nor a public safety risk, the government was effectively tearing immigrants away from their families, their communities, and their livelihoods and compromising their access to representation.  Many immigrants caught in the mandatory detention dragnet are longtime residents of the United States who have rehabilitated themselves, raised families and they will now have the opportunity to make an individualized case against their detention.

“This case has the power to stop the federal government’s outrageous process of holding people without bond. We are now one step closer to ensuring those who aspire to be citizens are treated fairly before the law,” said lead counsel and Keker & Van Nest Partner Jon Streeter.

“Fair process is at the core of our country’s system of justice. The Court rightly acknowledged that not even the government is above the law, and cannot deny bond hearings to individuals who are plainly entitled to them,” said Keker & Van Nest attorney Stacy Chen.

“The decision places some necessary limits on the federal government’s expansive use of mandatory detention, a practice that has been devastating immigrant families for nearly two decades,” said Alison Pennington of Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus.

“This is an important victory that pushes back against our inhumane and abusive immigration detention system,” said Julia Harumi Mass, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “In addition to monitoring the compliance with this injunction, the ACLU will continue to seek reforms that respect our fundamental sense of fairness for immigration detainees.”

 


via @ACLU: Judge Rules to Limit Mandatory Detention of Immigrants in California

DWN Blog - May 17, 2014 - 11:43
For Immediate Release via ACLU :  May 16, 2014 Media Contact: (415) 621-2493 (press@aclunc.org) Immigration judge grants motion for preliminary injunction requiring the government to give certain immigrants a bond hearing in California.

On Thursday May 15, United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted a motion for a preliminary injunction and motion for class certification in Preap v. Holder, a class action lawsuit in which Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, with lead counsel Keker Van Nest, LLP, challenged the federal government’s practice in California of detaining certain immigrants without bond, often for many months, while they face deportation proceedings.

By refusing these detainees bond hearings at which they can demonstrate their fitness for release because they are neither a flight risk nor a public safety risk, the government was effectively tearing immigrants away from their families, their communities, and their livelihoods and compromising their access to representation.  Many immigrants caught in the mandatory detention dragnet are longtime residents of the United States who have rehabilitated themselves, raised families and they will now have the opportunity to make an individualized case against their detention.

“This case has the power to stop the federal government’s outrageous process of holding people without bond. We are now one step closer to ensuring those who aspire to be citizens are treated fairly before the law,” said lead counsel and Keker & Van Nest Partner Jon Streeter.

“Fair process is at the core of our country’s system of justice. The Court rightly acknowledged that not even the government is above the law, and cannot deny bond hearings to individuals who are plainly entitled to them,” said Keker & Van Nest attorney Stacy Chen.

“The decision places some necessary limits on the federal government’s expansive use of mandatory detention, a practice that has been devastating immigrant families for nearly two decades,” said Alison Pennington of Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus.

“This is an important victory that pushes back against our inhumane and abusive immigration detention system,” said Julia Harumi Mass, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “In addition to monitoring the compliance with this injunction, the ACLU will continue to seek reforms that respect our fundamental sense of fairness for immigration detainees.”

 


via @ILRC_SF: Legal Developments on ICE Holds – explanation & resources

DWN Blog - May 15, 2014 - 09:07

via Lena Graber, Special Projects Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center

As many or all of you know, there have been some exciting developments on ICE holds/detainers in the last few weeks.  First a court of appeals found that they were not mandatory, and then an Oregon court found that holding someone on a detainer was unconstitutional and that the county owed her money damages.

As a result, dozens of sheriffs are changing their policies and refusing to act on any ICE holds.  See our map of detainer policies at ilrc.org/enforcement  (although it is getting hard to keep up with all the changes!)

Attached is a PDF short advisory from ILRC on the recent court decisions and what they mean, as well as advice on how to use this information with your own local sheriffs or other law enforcement and elected officials.  Also attached are PDF letters that were sent from NWIRP, ACLU, and several California organizations to sheriffs in Washington, California, and Colorado.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for more help on this.


via @ILRC_SF: Legal Developments on ICE Holds – explanation & resources

DWN Blog - May 15, 2014 - 09:07

via Lena Graber, Special Projects Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center

As many or all of you know, there have been some exciting developments on ICE holds/detainers in the last few weeks.  First a court of appeals found that they were not mandatory, and then an Oregon court found that holding someone on a detainer was unconstitutional and that the county owed her money damages.

As a result, dozens of sheriffs are changing their policies and refusing to act on any ICE holds.  See our map of detainer policies at ilrc.org/enforcement  (although it is getting hard to keep up with all the changes!)

Attached is a PDF short advisory from ILRC on the recent court decisions and what they mean, as well as advice on how to use this information with your own local sheriffs or other law enforcement and elected officials.  Also attached are PDF letters that were sent from NWIRP, ACLU, and several California organizations to sheriffs in Washington, California, and Colorado.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for more help on this.


via @LatinoAdvocacy1: Leaders of #NWDC Resistance Meet with Members of House Judiciary Committee and Homeland Security Officials in DC;

DWN Blog - May 14, 2014 - 11:02
For Immediate Release May 12, 2014

CONTACT: Angelica Chazaro (646) 496-5724

CONTACT: Maru Mora Villalpando, 206-251-6658

Undocumented Leaders of NWDC Resistance Meet with Members of House Judiciary Committee and Homeland Security Officials in DC; Lawsuit Withdrawn; Organizing Continues

Tacoma, WA – Last Thursday  two undocumented leaders of the Northwest Detention Center Resistance  met with four members of the House Judiciary Committee. The Congresspeople, all co-sponsors of  the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act, were Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Joe Garcia (D-FL). The two leaders from NWDC Resistance were Jose Moreno, who helped organize the March 7 hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center and supported from the outside once he was released on bond, and Maru Mora Villalpando, who was a leader of the Feb. 24th action that delayed deportations for a week and led support for the hunger strike. “The fact that we were able to met with key Congressmembers means we undocumented immigrants are not longer being ignored. Our activism is paying off”, said Maru Mora Villalpando in reference to the meeting.

On Friday they discussed the President’s order to devise changes in the immigration system with top officials of the Department of Homeland Security, including Esther Olivares, council to Jeh Johnson and Tae Johnson, assistant director for custody management.  Moreno and Maru spoke with them about specific technical changes that need to be made to detention and deportation practices and provided stories of people in the detention center who are suffering as a result of ICE practices. The officials asked for more specifics and indicated that they are concerned about the history of failure for administration changes to make a difference in the field. “We were able to communicate with elected officials in Congress and DHS top administrators that we are human beings, and even in detention people should be treated as such” said Jose Moreno.

The hunger strikers expressed their appreciation for the ACLU and Columbia Legal Service in the wake of the voluntary dismissal of  the April 2nd federal lawsuit that vindicated their Free Speech rights.  The lawsuit was brought when twenty people in the NWDC were put in solitary confinement for engaging in a hunger strike to  protest the United States’ immigration policies and poor conditions at the NWDC, a protest that gained national and international attention.  The hunger strikers were immediately released after the lawsuit was filed.

This fight to protect the rights of whistleblowers on detention conditions was successful because ICE was put on notice that the can’t suppress peaceful protest without legal consequences. Knowing that retaliation will meet with strong public exposure and legal action will make it easier to continue organizing to expose the conditions in the immigration prison and the need to stop deportations and the use of prison-like detention for a civil process.

###

Further resources:

 


via @LatinoAdvocacy1: Leaders of #NWDC Resistance Meet with Members of House Judiciary Committee and Homeland Security Officials in DC;

DWN Blog - May 14, 2014 - 11:02
For Immediate Release May 12, 2014

CONTACT: Angelica Chazaro (646) 496-5724

CONTACT: Maru Mora Villalpando, 206-251-6658

Undocumented Leaders of NWDC Resistance Meet with Members of House Judiciary Committee and Homeland Security Officials in DC; Lawsuit Withdrawn; Organizing Continues

Tacoma, WA – Last Thursday  two undocumented leaders of the Northwest Detention Center Resistance  met with four members of the House Judiciary Committee. The Congresspeople, all co-sponsors of  the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act, were Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Joe Garcia (D-FL). The two leaders from NWDC Resistance were Jose Moreno, who helped organize the March 7 hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center and supported from the outside once he was released on bond, and Maru Mora Villalpando, who was a leader of the Feb. 24th action that delayed deportations for a week and led support for the hunger strike. “The fact that we were able to met with key Congressmembers means we undocumented immigrants are not longer being ignored. Our activism is paying off”, said Maru Mora Villalpando in reference to the meeting.

On Friday they discussed the President’s order to devise changes in the immigration system with top officials of the Department of Homeland Security, including Esther Olivares, council to Jeh Johnson and Tae Johnson, assistant director for custody management.  Moreno and Maru spoke with them about specific technical changes that need to be made to detention and deportation practices and provided stories of people in the detention center who are suffering as a result of ICE practices. The officials asked for more specifics and indicated that they are concerned about the history of failure for administration changes to make a difference in the field. “We were able to communicate with elected officials in Congress and DHS top administrators that we are human beings, and even in detention people should be treated as such” said Jose Moreno.

The hunger strikers expressed their appreciation for the ACLU and Columbia Legal Service in the wake of the voluntary dismissal of  the April 2nd federal lawsuit that vindicated their Free Speech rights.  The lawsuit was brought when twenty people in the NWDC were put in solitary confinement for engaging in a hunger strike to  protest the United States’ immigration policies and poor conditions at the NWDC, a protest that gained national and international attention.  The hunger strikers were immediately released after the lawsuit was filed.

This fight to protect the rights of whistleblowers on detention conditions was successful because ICE was put on notice that the can’t suppress peaceful protest without legal consequences. Knowing that retaliation will meet with strong public exposure and legal action will make it easier to continue organizing to expose the conditions in the immigration prison and the need to stop deportations and the use of prison-like detention for a civil process.

###

Further resources:

 


via @NIJC: Legislation Would Improve Detention Standards & #EndtheQuota

DWN Blog - May 14, 2014 - 10:44

via NIJC: For Immediate Release

 

Contact: Julia Toepfer (312) 660-1635
jtoepfer@heartlandalliance.org

Statement of Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center

CHICAGO (May 13, 2014) — Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) applauds Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) for introducing legislation late last week, the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act of 2014 (H.R. 4620), to improve standards and conditions at detention centers nationwide. The bill addresses many of NIJC’s detention priorities, including facility oversight and accountability, elimination of the bed quota, expanded use of alternatives to detention (ATDs), access to legal services, and solitary confinement.

As they stand today, detention standards are not statutorily enforceable, thereby eliminating meaningful accountability for detention centers that do not meet the minimum standards. Consequently, thousands of individuals are held in inhumane conditions. Many detainees pose little or no public safety risk and could be released while they await their hearing. Continued detention of these individuals costs taxpayers $5 million per day or $2 billion per year, and leaves thousands of families to struggle emotionally and financially. Congressman Smith’s proposed legislation improves detention conditions, helps keep families together, and:

  • Creates oversight mechanisms with meaningful accountability. The legislation requires annual inspections of all detention facilities by the Department of Homeland Security and independent third party auditors. Detention centers that score poorly on two consecutive inspections will have their contracts terminated within 60 days.
  • Eliminates the bed quota. Every day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds an average of 34,000 individuals in detention due to a congressional appropriations quota. No other law enforcement agency operates under this type of quota. Eliminating the bed quota will save taxpayer money by allowing ICE to make custody determinations based on individual circumstances rather than the need to meet an arbitrary number.
  • Expands ATD programs in all field offices. Increased use of ATDs, which cost as little as 70 cents to $17 daily, could save taxpayers $1.44 billion annually. Moreover, ATDs allow individuals who pose little to no public safety risk to return to their families and communities while they await their immigration hearing.
  • Increases access to legal services. The legislation requires future facilities be within 50 miles of a community where there is a demonstrated capacity to provide free or low-cost legal services. It also requires that all detainees receive information on their legal rights through Legal Orientation Programs.
  • Limits the use of solitary confinement. The bill stipulates that facilities should not subject detainees to solitary confinement, shackling, or strip searches unless less coercive measures are unable to ensure the safety of others. In addition, the legislation requires reporting and review after any placement in solitary confinement lasting three consecutive days or three days out of a seven-day period.

The legislation comes on the heels of a two-month hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington. Detained immigrants demanded an end to arbitrary solitary confinement practices, poor treatment by guards, and inadequate meals and conditions. These problems extend beyond the NWDC to detention centers across the country.

NIJC thanks Congressman Smith for his leadership and calls on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to bring to the floor this and other immigration reforms in a comprehensive package before the August recess.

###

With offices in Chicago, Indiana, and Washington, D.C., Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. For more information visit http://www.immigrantjustice.org.


via @NIJC: Legislation Would Improve Detention Standards & #EndtheQuota

DWN Blog - May 14, 2014 - 10:44

via NIJC: For Immediate Release

 

Contact: Julia Toepfer (312) 660-1635
jtoepfer@heartlandalliance.org

Statement of Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center

CHICAGO (May 13, 2014) — Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) applauds Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) for introducing legislation late last week, the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act of 2014 (H.R. 4620), to improve standards and conditions at detention centers nationwide. The bill addresses many of NIJC’s detention priorities, including facility oversight and accountability, elimination of the bed quota, expanded use of alternatives to detention (ATDs), access to legal services, and solitary confinement.

As they stand today, detention standards are not statutorily enforceable, thereby eliminating meaningful accountability for detention centers that do not meet the minimum standards. Consequently, thousands of individuals are held in inhumane conditions. Many detainees pose little or no public safety risk and could be released while they await their hearing. Continued detention of these individuals costs taxpayers $5 million per day or $2 billion per year, and leaves thousands of families to struggle emotionally and financially. Congressman Smith’s proposed legislation improves detention conditions, helps keep families together, and:

  • Creates oversight mechanisms with meaningful accountability. The legislation requires annual inspections of all detention facilities by the Department of Homeland Security and independent third party auditors. Detention centers that score poorly on two consecutive inspections will have their contracts terminated within 60 days.
  • Eliminates the bed quota. Every day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds an average of 34,000 individuals in detention due to a congressional appropriations quota. No other law enforcement agency operates under this type of quota. Eliminating the bed quota will save taxpayer money by allowing ICE to make custody determinations based on individual circumstances rather than the need to meet an arbitrary number.
  • Expands ATD programs in all field offices. Increased use of ATDs, which cost as little as 70 cents to $17 daily, could save taxpayers $1.44 billion annually. Moreover, ATDs allow individuals who pose little to no public safety risk to return to their families and communities while they await their immigration hearing.
  • Increases access to legal services. The legislation requires future facilities be within 50 miles of a community where there is a demonstrated capacity to provide free or low-cost legal services. It also requires that all detainees receive information on their legal rights through Legal Orientation Programs.
  • Limits the use of solitary confinement. The bill stipulates that facilities should not subject detainees to solitary confinement, shackling, or strip searches unless less coercive measures are unable to ensure the safety of others. In addition, the legislation requires reporting and review after any placement in solitary confinement lasting three consecutive days or three days out of a seven-day period.

The legislation comes on the heels of a two-month hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington. Detained immigrants demanded an end to arbitrary solitary confinement practices, poor treatment by guards, and inadequate meals and conditions. These problems extend beyond the NWDC to detention centers across the country.

NIJC thanks Congressman Smith for his leadership and calls on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to bring to the floor this and other immigration reforms in a comprehensive package before the August recess.

###

With offices in Chicago, Indiana, and Washington, D.C., Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. For more information visit http://www.immigrantjustice.org.


Watch: Dignity, Not Detention – Catalina Nieto at @TEDxFoggyBottom

DWN Blog - May 14, 2014 - 10:22

At TEDx Foggy Bottom, Catalina Nieto, an activist for human rights and immigration, shares her personal message of advocacy and action.

Catalina Nieto is the Field Director of the Detention Watch Network (DWN), a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system. Ever since Catalina migrated from Colombia to the United States in 2000, she has been actively engaged in the immigrant rights and Latin American solidarity movement as a community organizer, artist and popular educator. Through her work at DWN, Catalina supports local and national organizing against detention expansion and towards policies that promote the rights and dignity of all persons. Catalina graduated with an M.A. in Social Justice and Intercultural Relations from SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont and a double B.A. in Sociology and Communications, Media and Theater from Northeastern Illinois University. Before joining DWN, Catalina worked as a community organizer with the immigrant rights organization Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (TIRRC), the Latin American solidarity organization Witness for Peace, and supported movement building as an interpreter and popular educator with the Highlander Center for Popular Education and the Wayside Center for Popular Education.

“SimplyZinhle Production” – Filming and production directed by Zinhle Essamuah. http://simplyzinhle.com

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


Watch: Dignity, Not Detention – Catalina Nieto at @TEDxFoggyBottom

DWN Blog - May 14, 2014 - 10:22

At TEDx Foggy Bottom, Catalina Nieto, an activist for human rights and immigration, shares her personal message of advocacy and action.

Catalina Nieto is the Field Director of the Detention Watch Network (DWN), a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system. Ever since Catalina migrated from Colombia to the United States in 2000, she has been actively engaged in the immigrant rights and Latin American solidarity movement as a community organizer, artist and popular educator. Through her work at DWN, Catalina supports local and national organizing against detention expansion and towards policies that promote the rights and dignity of all persons. Catalina graduated with an M.A. in Social Justice and Intercultural Relations from SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont and a double B.A. in Sociology and Communications, Media and Theater from Northeastern Illinois University. Before joining DWN, Catalina worked as a community organizer with the immigrant rights organization Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (TIRRC), the Latin American solidarity organization Witness for Peace, and supported movement building as an interpreter and popular educator with the Highlander Center for Popular Education and the Wayside Center for Popular Education.

“SimplyZinhle Production” – Filming and production directed by Zinhle Essamuah. http://simplyzinhle.com

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


Call to #EndtheQuota Today!

DWN Blog - May 7, 2014 - 11:34
Today, people directly impacted by detention, advocates, faith communities and members and allies of Detention Watch Network (DWN) will take part in an advocacy day on Capitol Hill organized by DWN and CAMBIO. They will be asking members of Congress to End The Quota! Amplify their voices by calling your member of Congress today, Wednesday, May 7th and tell them Congress should eliminate the detention bed quota, which ensures funding to keep an average of 34,000 immigrants locked up in ICE detention facilities on any given day.

What You Can Do Today to #EndTheQuota Call your Senators and Representative: 

  • Click here to find your Senators and their phone numbers
  • Click here to find your Representative and his/her phone number
  • Call (202) 224-3121 for the Capitol Switchboard
Sample Script: My name is _____ calling from ­­­­­_____.  As a constituent, I oppose funding for the immigration detention bed quota, which ensures that 34,000 immigrants are incarcerated in ICE detention facilities at any given time. I urge you to contact members of the Appropriations Committee, Homeland Security Subcommittee, and tell them that you oppose the immigration detention bed quota.  If the bed quota is included in appropriations, I hope you will support an amendment to strike it from the final appropriations bill. Background Information: The detention bed quota is an unprecedented policy – no other law enforcement agency operates on a quota system.

  • The cost to maintain the unmanageable system of immigration is excessive. In 2012, ICE detained an estimated 478,000 immigrants and ICE’s current detention budget is just short of $2 billion. During a time of fiscal crisis, it is unacceptable to be spending billions in taxpayer dollars each year to needlessly detain immigrants to fill a quota.
  • Money appropriated for the bed quota often lines the pockets of the for-profit prison corporations that run nearly half of the beds in immigration jails. The two top private prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group, have a combined annual revenue of over $3 billion.
  • With a guaranteed need for detention “beds” or jail cells, the detention bed quota essentially forces the use of facilities that have poor track records in which innumerable human rights abuses and dozens of deaths have occurred. These facilities have issues ranging from no access to the outdoor space, maggot- and worm-infested food, and wholly inadequate medical and mental health care.
We encourage you to schedule a meeting with your member of Congress (either in DC or in the district office) to follow-up after your call. Did you call or meet with your Member of Congress?  Tell us how it went.  We need your help in tracking which Members of Congress will help us end the quota!

Tweet today about the advocacy day and your opposition to a bed quota with #EndTheQuota: Sample Tweets: TODAY @DetentionWatch & @CAMBIOtoday is bringing families, faith leaders & advocates @uscapitol to say #EndTheQuota #stopice & #Not1More .@RepHalRogers Immigration detention bed quota is wasteful & unnecessary. No other law enforcement uses a bed quota! #EndTheQuota#Not1More .@houseappropsgop Immigrants are not numbers to fill a bed quota & line pockets of #privateprisons corporations! #EndTheQuota #2million2many .@SenateApprops ICE detention & deportations are breaking apart families & costing taxpayers billions #EndTheQuota #not1more #2million2many .@SenLandrieu Detention bed quota costs nearly $2 billion & prevents real immigration reform! Counting on you to #EndTheQuota #2million2many End the Quota Action: Join us in Washington, D.C. as we march, we rally, and take a public stance against the arbitrary quota that requires the incarceration of 34,000 immigrants in detention at any given time.What: End The Quota March and Action in Washington, D.C.
Where: Meet outside the Smithsonian Metro Station (Orange/Blue Line)
Time: 3:00 p.m.
When: Friday, May 9th, 2014

Facebook event

Call to #EndtheQuota Today!

DWN Blog - May 7, 2014 - 11:34
Today, people directly impacted by detention, advocates, faith communities and members and allies of Detention Watch Network (DWN) will take part in an advocacy day on Capitol Hill organized by DWN and CAMBIO. They will be asking members of Congress to End The Quota! Amplify their voices by calling your member of Congress today, Wednesday, May 7th and tell them Congress should eliminate the detention bed quota, which ensures funding to keep an average of 34,000 immigrants locked up in ICE detention facilities on any given day.

What You Can Do Today to #EndTheQuota Call your Senators and Representative: 

  • Click here to find your Senators and their phone numbers
  • Click here to find your Representative and his/her phone number
  • Call (202) 224-3121 for the Capitol Switchboard
Sample Script: My name is _____ calling from ­­­­­_____.  As a constituent, I oppose funding for the immigration detention bed quota, which ensures that 34,000 immigrants are incarcerated in ICE detention facilities at any given time. I urge you to contact members of the Appropriations Committee, Homeland Security Subcommittee, and tell them that you oppose the immigration detention bed quota.  If the bed quota is included in appropriations, I hope you will support an amendment to strike it from the final appropriations bill. Background Information: The detention bed quota is an unprecedented policy – no other law enforcement agency operates on a quota system.

  • The cost to maintain the unmanageable system of immigration is excessive. In 2012, ICE detained an estimated 478,000 immigrants and ICE’s current detention budget is just short of $2 billion. During a time of fiscal crisis, it is unacceptable to be spending billions in taxpayer dollars each year to needlessly detain immigrants to fill a quota.
  • Money appropriated for the bed quota often lines the pockets of the for-profit prison corporations that run nearly half of the beds in immigration jails. The two top private prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group, have a combined annual revenue of over $3 billion.
  • With a guaranteed need for detention “beds” or jail cells, the detention bed quota essentially forces the use of facilities that have poor track records in which innumerable human rights abuses and dozens of deaths have occurred. These facilities have issues ranging from no access to the outdoor space, maggot- and worm-infested food, and wholly inadequate medical and mental health care.
We encourage you to schedule a meeting with your member of Congress (either in DC or in the district office) to follow-up after your call. Did you call or meet with your Member of Congress?  Tell us how it went.  We need your help in tracking which Members of Congress will help us end the quota!

Tweet today about the advocacy day and your opposition to a bed quota with #EndTheQuota: Sample Tweets: TODAY @DetentionWatch & @CAMBIOtoday is bringing families, faith leaders & advocates @uscapitol to say #EndTheQuota #stopice & #Not1More .@RepHalRogers Immigration detention bed quota is wasteful & unnecessary. No other law enforcement uses a bed quota! #EndTheQuota#Not1More .@houseappropsgop Immigrants are not numbers to fill a bed quota & line pockets of #privateprisons corporations! #EndTheQuota #2million2many .@SenateApprops ICE detention & deportations are breaking apart families & costing taxpayers billions #EndTheQuota #not1more #2million2many .@SenLandrieu Detention bed quota costs nearly $2 billion & prevents real immigration reform! Counting on you to #EndTheQuota #2million2many End the Quota Action: Join us in Washington, D.C. as we march, we rally, and take a public stance against the arbitrary quota that requires the incarceration of 34,000 immigrants in detention at any given time.What: End The Quota March and Action in Washington, D.C.
Where: Meet outside the Smithsonian Metro Station (Orange/Blue Line)
Time: 3:00 p.m.
When: Friday, May 9th, 2014

Facebook event

Watch via @AFLCIO: 90-by-60-Foot Light Display Makes Big Statement on Deportations

DWN Blog - May 1, 2014 - 11:42

via AFL-CIO:

“On the eve of May Day, the AFL-CIO joined the #Not1More deportation hunger strikers at our headquarters to lift up the plight of immigrant families who are being torn apart from each other.

Check out the statement we made on the front of our building below and watch a video of the program here.”


Watch via @AFLCIO: 90-by-60-Foot Light Display Makes Big Statement on Deportations

DWN Blog - May 1, 2014 - 11:42

via AFL-CIO:

“On the eve of May Day, the AFL-CIO joined the #Not1More deportation hunger strikers at our headquarters to lift up the plight of immigrant families who are being torn apart from each other.

Check out the statement we made on the front of our building below and watch a video of the program here.”